Personal Opinion Of The Harm Reduction Model. A Harm Reduction Approach

1554 words - 6 pages

I entered into the Addictions 466 course with preconceived notions and beliefs pertaining to substance misuse and treatment. As a student eager to learn, combined with a willingness to grasp new concepts and ideas, I feel confident that this course will provide me with the knowledge and answers I am seeking. I am aware of the plethora of addictions and ill behaviours that plague the population of our time, however, given that I am focusing on the harm reduction model, I will focus this method with what I believe to be most prevalently misused substances.Originally, I was under the misconception that abstinence was the only method of approach for people with issues of misuse. I have since been introduced to a concept that I am particularly comfortable with, a concept referred to as harm reduction. Goldberg (1999) states, " The basic assumption behind harm reduction is that at least to some extent, drug consumption is inevitable' (p.228) To the best of my knowledge and extensive research, the definition of harm reduction has been loosely defined as, any attempt at reducing harm. Through my research I discovered three excellent definitions from various resources.The first of the three definitions I found is one that encompasses the wide realm of issues pertaining to the topic ofmisuse, a definition from the internet on a web site for The Concept of Harm Reduction and its Application to Alcohol. The definition is embodied in a statement by Ernst Buning (1993), he states, "If a person is not willing to give up his or her drug use, we should assist them in reducing harm to himself or herself and others"( The second definition is provided by Wodak and Saunders in the editorial introduction to a special issue of Drug and Alcohol Review on harm reduction (1995), together they claim harm reduction to be, "a policy or programme directed towards decreasing adverse health, social and economic adverse consequences of drug use while the user continues to use drugs" (pg.269). This definition is essentially the same as the one proposed by Heather, Wodak, Nadelmann and O'Hare(1993), who describe harm reduction as decreasing the harmful consequences of drug use "without necessarily diminishing drug consumption" (pg.45).I anticipate learning more about how harm reduction has proven to be so effective and why it has gained such acceptance in so many communities that are dealing with the adverse effects of addiction. I have, however, learned a great deal about harm reduction throughout the journey of my research on the topic. One aspect of the approach I found particularly interesting is acceptance, the principle feature of harm reduction. For example, acceptance of the fact that some drug users cannot be, and are not expected to, immediately discontinue their drug use. Personally, I would never have supported this approach prior to my classroom education on addiction issues and the abundance of research I have done on this topic. As a reformed...

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